The rugged heart of North Cornwall
Bodmin Moor, known in Cornish as Goen Bren, is justly famous for its atmospheric beauty and spectacular granite tors and is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The largest area of semi-natural habitat remaining in Cornwall, it extends to some 80 square miles, averaging 800 feet above sea level.
The closest part of the moor to Old Newham is the old WW2 airfield of RAF Davidstow (about 5 miles). The derelict control tower and grass encroached runways grazed by ponies and sheep add to the sombre atmosphere of this part of the moor.
Some of the old buildings now house two most interesting museums dedicated to the men who served from this iconic airfield.
Three miles further on - Rough Tor - pronounced "Row (rhyming with cow) Tor" - at 1,311 feet is one its more famous landmarks. At the summit stands a monument to the soldiers of the 43rd (Wessex) Division who died in World War II.
Just a bit further over, Brown Willy, (Bron Wennyly in Cornish, meaning swallows' hill) at 64 feet higher, is the highest point in Cornwall. To reach the summit involves a hike of 4 or 5 miles but, on a fine day, you are rewarded with extensive views of Cornwall from North to South coasts.
Our favourite place on the moor is Bowithick, a group of five or six cottages, where a narrow moorland lane fords a crystal clear stream with the ancient granite packhorse bridge alongside.
Also worth a visit is the village of Altarnun. This charming village is dominated by the tower of the 15th Century church of St Nonna's, "The cathedral of the moor". Daphne du Maurier's book 'Jamaica Inn' features the notorious Francis Davey, the Vicar of Altarnun.